President of Honduras, Xiomara Castro has announced that her government will seek to establish diplomatic relations with China, which would imply severing relations with Taiwan.
The switch would leave Taiwan recognized by only 13 countries as China spends billions to win recognition for its “One China” policy.
Castro divulged on her Twitter account that she instructed Honduran Foreign Affairs Minister, Eduardo Reina to start negotiations with China and that her intention is “expand frontiers freely in concert with the nations of the world.”
The Honduran President said during her presidential campaign in 2021 that she would look for ties with China if elected, but once in power, her government backtracked on those comments.
In January 2022, the Foreign Affairs Minister told a news agency that Honduras would continue strengthening ties with Taiwan and that establishing a diplomatic relationship with China was not a priority for Castro.
Reina, the Foreign Affairs Minister, had said the government weighed up the benefits that Honduras had received from a good relationship with Taiwan and decided that there was no reason to change at that moment.
It is not clear what made Honduras’ government change its mind. However, China, which is building a massive dam in Honduras, generally uses trade and investment as incentives for switching ties, as it has done successfully with Costa Rica, Panama, El Salvador, Nicaragua and, most recently, South Pacific nations including the Solomon Islands.
Taiwan, on the other hand, supplies its dwindling number of formal diplomatic partners with agricultural experts, vocational training programs and other forms of economic aid.
Castro’s decision also comes ahead of Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen’s planned trip to its Central American allies with a stopover in the US next month, a move that will likely increase friction between Washington and Beijing. Tsai’s visit will include a meeting with U.S House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Taiwan said it had “expressed serious concerns to the Honduran government.”
“Our country has made it clear to Honduras many times that Taiwan is a sincere and reliable cooperative partner to our allies. Honduras is requested to consider carefully and not fall into China’s trap or make wrong decisions that damage the long-term friendship between Taiwan and Honduras.”Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Taiwanese media reported that the Foreign Ministry had summoned Honduras’ Ambassador, Harold Burgos for discussions. Burgos told reporters that he is currently awaiting orders from his government.
China Welcomes Honduras’ Statement
At a daily briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Wang Wenbin disclosed that Beijing welcomed the statement from Honduras.
“The fact that 181 countries in the world have established diplomatic relations with China on the basis of the one-China principle fully proves that establishing diplomatic relations with China is a correct choice in line with the general trend of historical development and the trend of the times.”Wang Wenbin
China claims that self-ruled, democratic Taiwan is part of its territory, to be brought under its control by force if necessary and refuses most contacts with countries that maintain formal ties with Taiwan, and threatens retaliation against countries merely for increasing contacts.
The loss of Honduras would leave Taiwan with formal diplomatic ties just 13 sovereign states, including Vatican City. In Latin America, it also has relations with Belize and Paraguay, with most of its remaining partners being small, poor island nations in the Caribbean and South Pacific.
Taiwan’s sole remaining African ally is Eswantini, formerly known as Swaziland, whose Prime Minister Cleopas Sipho Dlamini visited Taiwan this month and expressed support for the island’s re-admission to the United Nations and its agencies.
Despite China’s campaign of isolation, Taiwan retains robust informal ties with more than 100 other countries.
READ ALSO: EPA Proposes Limit On Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’ In Drinking Water
Leave a Reply